Malaysian politicians have begun formal campaigning for May 5 general elections that will determine if Prime Minister Najib Razak's governing coalition can extend nearly 56 years of unbroken rule amid a resurgent opposition that accuses it of corruption and authoritarianism.

Election candidates Saturday submitted nomination papers at their home constituencies, paving the way for the start of a 15-day campaigning period. Najib, escorted by dozens of supporters, submitted his nomination papers in Pekan in central Pahang state. His arch rival Anwar Ibrahim is running in northern Penang state.

Anwar's alliance currently holds slightly more than a-third of Parliament's seats and controls four of Malaysia's 13 states after the National Front endured its worst electoral results ever in 2008 polls amid public discontent about corruption and racial discrimination.